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Yay toast! I found

A ceiling in Nanjing's Presidential Palace
Yay toast! I found my guide book!
In typical Anna fashion, it was on my book shelf. I just didn't think to look there. (And my father is reading this and going "Yup, that's my kid.")
Anyway, looking at this picture reminded me of one of my frustrations with my guide book, and probably something that is true of all guide books. The signs for the place I was going to where in English, but the name in my guide book was completely different than the English name in Nanjing. Or was it that my guide book had the name in Pinying, and all the signs were in English? Either way, in Nanjing, the nice people called it the Presidential Palace, and I can't find the paragraph about it in my guide book.
I'm babbling.
This was one of the places I went to in China where I was again struck with how many of my friends would think "This is what China is". I remember how... pristine... the gardens were inside, and there were hidden speakers piping in Chinese music. I remember there was a bomb shelter inside, and how incredibly claustrophic that part was.
One section was this beautiful throne room area. The throne itself was gold, and there were these beautifully carved cranes next to it, with gold inlay. I remember the cherry wood on the desk across the hall, and this sense of awe.
But the real beauty, for me at least, was in the ceiling.
I'm fascinated by the way Chinese architecture is so different from Canadian stuff. Granted, a good chunk of that is because we're not really that old, but it also seems to me that there was an effort in ancient China to create things of beauty. Who cares if the ceiling is beautiful, right? But look up, and you can feel this sense of awe. It's not the golden throne or the cranes that made me think that the person who sat here was powerful. It was that someone crawled up on something rickety so that the ceiling would be beautiful for them.
I do have pics of the throne and the crane, and a few other things from this room, but they haven't been scanned. Note to self: Before next overseas jaunt, buy a digital camera.

As for my attempts to get my house undercontrol.... um... not so much. Except I found my guide book. Yay toast!
I don't know, it just seems like this never-ending task. And why would I want to de-clutter and clean when I can sit in front of my computer and hit "refresh" on my favorite sites? I just need some sort of ... easily attainable goal, I think. Maybe I need to take blantant advantage of my friends with cars, and get help clearing things out. "Okay, everything you already have packed and ready to go? Let's get it going. Now! Move it woman!"
I have friends I could deal with getting all authoratarian on me. *grin*
I was thinking the other day about travelling and how it affects people. My friend Scarecrow, who went to Japan and was the inspiration for my going to China, wrote (either in his blog or his regular site) how sometimes he forgets that he actually went to Japan, that he actually went on these adventures, until he reaches into a winter coat he hasn't worn in a while and finds a cancelled transfer from a Tokyo train.
For me, it's the little pieces of paper stuck in the guide book, the weirdly scrawled notes like "DO THIS NOW!" or "Shanghai has a Baby Bar?", or the huge collection of postcards that I'm trying to figure out how to sort. Those are the things that remind me of China.
But it's other things, too. Like reaching into my pocket the other day and finding my tag for the Maritime History Museum in Halifax. I'm often rather... not enthused about Canada. I love it, but I think it's boring and pedestrian. Our "revolt" lasted a weekend.
And yet, I love the beauty of this place. I love the way Halifax just... is. I was explaining this to my friend Mike, but he's been to Halifax, so he gets it. I just fell deeply in love with this city, and I never would have seen it if I hadn't gotten brave enough to get on a plane and go. And yes, getting on a plane to go to a city in your own country, where you know people, isn't as brave as going to China, where I knew no one, but it amazes me how few people in Canada have done it.
I really, really really, really really really need to travel again. Soon.

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